The Essentials

12 Portland Shows, Events, and Pure-Genius Things to Know This August

See a different kind of eclipse, get your family heirlooms assessed at the Antiques Roadshow, and belt tunes from the Revolution Hall roof.

By Rebecca Jacobson and Fiona McCann July 10, 2017 Published in the August 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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Daymé Arocena performs at the Lan Su Chinese Garden August 15.

Stumptown Improv Festival

Aug 3–5, Artists Repertory Theatre
When this fest launched three summers ago, it seemed to arrive fully formed, booking top-notch shows from the get-go. This year’s installment promises another killer lineup, including acclaimed Los Angeles trio Dasariski, Canadian duo Hip.Bang!, and returning favorites Summerland. 

Galaxy Dance Festival 

Aug 3–5, Director Park
Whether you’d rather watch the pros do pirouettes or bust out your own sick moves, Polaris Dance Theatre’s annual takeover of Director Park—with free performances and classes—is just the ticket.

Top Down: Rooftop Cinema

Aug 3–31, Hotel deLuxe
This film festival atop the Hotel deLuxe is an annual summertime treat of cinema classics alfresco, brought to you by the NW Film Center. Settle in for such delights as 1937’s remarriage comedy The Awful Truth, the Bruce Campbell cult classic Army of Darkness, and This Is Spinal Tap, the OG mockumentary.


Aug 3–6, Pendarvis Farm
High-ho, high-ho, it’s back to Happy Valley we go. It’s Pickathon, after all, and with the likes of Dinosaur Jr., Drive-By Truckers, Dezarie, and our own Last Artful, Dodgr in the lineup, it promises a hoot of a hoedown.

De-Canon Pop-Up Library Exhibit

Aug 3–26, Una Gallery
Earlier this year, local writers Dao Strom and Neil Aitken launched a “visibility project” to showcase authors of color via a growing online database and IRL events, such as this pop-up library. Expect some 150 books on modular shelving at Old Town’s Una Gallery for the month, as well as readings, workshops, and live performances, including one by dance collective Physical Education.


Aug 3–Sept 3, Blue Sky Gallery
Yeah, yeah, this month brings a total solar eclipse, recommended for those who dig hellish traffic and scary tourist mobs. Avoid all that at Blue Sky Gallery, where cofounder Christopher Rauschenberg curates a group show of “noncelestial eclipse images.” As in, ordinary objects obscured by other ordinary objects—think balloons or birds or books in front of people’s faces. 


Aug 4–26, CoHo Theater
Third Rail stages some of the pluckiest theater in town, and this two-hander by British playwright Duncan MacMillan—performed here by Darius Pierce, best known for The Santaland Diaries, and the equally ace Cristi Miles—should be no exception. It’s a dive into the moral murkiness of starting a family, like, umm, that carbon footprint? Particularly relevant in a post-Paris-pact world.

Portland Antiques Roadshow

Aug 12, Oregon Convention Center
Wanna know if that vase you inherited from Aunt Florence is a Ming dynasty artifact with an $8 million price tag? Then huck it down to the Antiques Roadshow, in Portland this month. You may even end up on the PBS show, with three episodes from Portland airing in 2018.

Daymé Arocena

Aug 15, Lan Su Chinese Garden
You’re going to hear this Cuban fusion jazz singer’s powerful, textured voice, and then you’ll find out she’s only 23 years old and it’s going to blow your mind. Arocena made NPR’s top 50 albums list in 2015 for her debut, Nueva Era, and has been called “The World’s Next Jazz Phenomenon” by Vibe. Go see her perform in the Zen surrounds of the Lan Su Chinese Garden and you’ll find out why. 

Rooftop Campfire Sing-Along

Aug 29, Revolution Hall
If you long for the bygone days of summer camp, the OK Chorale has your back. The all-skills-welcome pop chorus hosts its second annual sing-along on Revolution Hall’s roof, with live musical accompaniment provided by a six-piece band. Prepare to belt some George Michael, Patti Smith, and Sia. Plus: sweet city views.

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Hear It:

Portland-by-way-of-Portugal’s Grammy-winning RAC—a.k.a. André Allen Anjos—dropped his second album, EGO, this summer: a layered, punchy 14-track, electro-pop win clocking in at exactly 60 minutes and boasting collaborations with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Vampire Weekend’s Rostam, MNDR, and St. Lucia, among others. This is your summer soundtrack, Portland. Get on it.

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Read It:

In a not-too-distant-future Portland, a grab bag of unlikely heroes must save our city from the demons lurking in the secret recesses of the Web. Benjamin Percy’s newest book, The Dark Net, is a fantastical horror story in which the Internet’s shady spaces find purchase in the physical realm.

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